Spring on a Plate

Right after Memorial Day, it's easy to think summer's already here. But while our recent holiday weekend might mark the unofficial start to summer, we're not really there until about a month from now. And why are we in such a rush? Spring is a gorgeous time of the year and the food is downright fresh and fabulous. So let's embrace it while we have the chance.

I suggest putting together fresh food that doesn't take a lot of time to prepare. After all, one of the nicest things about this time of the year is the opportunities it affords to spend time outside without either freezing or melting. Put together a glorious one-pan dinner and then put in a little time gardening or just kicking back in a hammock. Before you know it, we'll be spending at least part of our time hiding out in air conditioning.

A couple of words about ramps: 1) If you have access to them, please use them in this recipe. They are this glorious combination of spring onion and green garlic with a little leek tossed in. That complex flavor is perfect when paired with salmon and mushrooms. 2) If you do not have access to ramps, you can substitute green garlic or scallions or garlic scapes. Fresh, onion-esque produce is what we're looking for here. And the fresher, the better of course.

Now, this really is a one-dish meal. Just pour a beverage and you're off to the races. You've invested less than a half hour and have a beautiful dinner to show for it as well as extra miso butter for other uses. I love adding a bit of it to my favorite steaks or drizzling some over grilled vegetables. Really, any dish you are looking to add a complex layer of rich, savory flavor to to will thank you for using miso butter!

Miso Butter Salmon with Ramps and Brandied Button Mushrooms

For Miso Butter:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. miso paste
For One-Pan Meal:
  • 2 salmon fillets - skin on
  • 1 small bunch ramps - green tops removed and saved for other use
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms - cleaned and cut into halves or quarters
  • 2 T. brandy
  • 1-2 tsp. black sesame seeds

To prepare the miso butter, stir the butter and miso paste together in a small dish until well-blended. You will not use all of the miso butter in this dish, so save the remainder for adding to everything from steaks to grilled eggplant.

Heat 1 T. of the miso butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and allow to cook for 4 minutes. Carefully flip the fish and allow it to cook on the other side for another 2-4 minutes, according to your tastes. Remove the fish to a plate and keep warm.

Make sure the root end of the ramps have been removed and any debris on them has been cleaned away before adding them to the still-warm pan. Using tongs, toss the ramps with the miso butter and dripping from the salmon and allow to cook for another five minutes before adding the button mushrooms to the pan. Add another tablespoon of miso butter to the pan and toss the ramps and mushrooms for another 5 minutes. Remove the ramps to the same plate the salmon is on before adding brandy to the hot pan and tossing the mushrooms well to coat. When most of the brandy has been absorbed or reduced, return the ramps and the salmon to the pan. Continue cooking until the fish and vegetables reach your desired consistency. Just before serving, sprinkle the fish with sesame seeds.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

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